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Published In: Species Plantarum 2: 727. 1753. (1 May 1753) (Sp. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 8/29/2017)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Status: Introduced


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Pisum sativum L. (garden pea)

P. sativum var. arvense (L.) Poir.

P. arvense L.

Pl. 405 i, j; Map 1795

Plants annual, with taproots. Stems 15–60(–150) cm long, spreading or climbing on other vegetation, usually branched, unarmed, glabrous, often somewhat glaucous. Leaves alternate, even-pinnately compound with (2)4 or 6 leaflets, the petiole 2–3 cm long, the rachis extended into a conspicuous, pinnately branched tendril. Stipules 28–45(–80) mm long, often larger than the leaflets, leaflike, asymmetrically ovate with a large basal auricle partially encircling the stem (those of adjacent stipules overlapping), the margins entire or toothed, persistent, the surfaces glabrous, often somewhat glaucous; stipels absent. Leaflets 2–4 cm long, 1–2 cm wide, elliptic to broadly elliptic, folded longitudinally during development, angled at the base, rounded or angled to a bluntly or broadly pointed tip, the midvein extended into a short, sharp point at the very tip, the margins entire or with small teeth, the surfaces glabrous, often somewhat glaucous, the venation pinnate. Inflorescences axillary, of solitary flowers or loose clusters or racemes of 2 or 3(4) flowers, ascending, the stalk 2–3 cm long, the bracts minute, shed early, each flower with a stalk 3–15 mm long; bractlets absent. Calyces glabrous, the tube 3–4 mm long, bell-shaped, the lobes 4–6 mm long, all similar, lanceolate, sharply pointed at their tips. Corollas papilionaceous, white or less commonly pink to purple (the wings and keel then often conspicuously darker than the banner), sometimes with green or purple nerves, the banner 12–18 mm long, 12–18 mm wide, the expanded portion abruptly curved or bent backward, broadly obovate to nearly circular, broadly notched at the tip, the wings 12–16 mm long, 6–9 mm wide, oblong, curved over the keel, the keel 10–13 mm long, 4–5 mm wide, boat-shaped, fused below the midpoint, curved upward abruptly and tapered to a slender, sharply pointed tip. Stamens 10, equal in length, 9 of the filaments fused and 1 free, the fused portion 6–7 mm long, the free portion 4–6 mm long, some or all of the filaments slightly broadened and densely hairy toward the tip, the anthers small, attached at the base, orange. Ovary 7–8 mm long, glabrous, the style 6–7 mm long, bent sharply at the base, curved toward the tip, flattened, with a fine, longitudinal groove, densely hairy on the inner side, the stigma small and subterminal. Fruits legumes, 5–10 cm long, 15–20 mm wide, obliquely oblong-ellipsoid, tapered to a short, stout beak, not or only slightly flattened, straight, indehiscent or dehiscent by 2 spirally twisting valves, the valves light green at maturity, 2–10-seeded. Seeds 4–7 mm long, 4–7 mm wide, more or less globose, the surface greenish yellow to green, sometimes mottled, smooth or wrinkled, shiny. 2n=14. May–June.

Introduced, uncommon, sporadic (cultigen of apparently Asian origin; introduced sporadically in the U.S., Canada). Railroads and gardens.

Peas have been grown since prehistoric times in the cooler parts of southwestern Asia, and this was presumably the area of domestication. Remains have been recovered from some of the oldest known village sites. Peas are now a major crop throughout the cool temperate zone, especially in northern Europe and Russia. As with many cultivated species, there is a wide range of variation in P. sativum and a complex nomenclatural history (Makasheva, 1984; Smartt, 1990). The species has been divided and classified in several ways, none of which seem very satisfactory or stable. Eight or more varieties have been recognized, but these are better treated among the numerous cultivars. Two major kinds of peas are cultivated, the garden pea (mainly grown for human consumption of the seeds) and the field pea (grown mainly for livestock and soil improvement, but the seeds are also dried and used in soups). Garden pea tends to have relatively large pods and seeds, as well as white corollas, and is sometimes designated as var. sativum. Field pea has somewhat smaller pods and seeds, usually pink or purple, often bicolorous flowers, and is sometimes classified as var. arvense. Both varieties have been collected in Missouri, however it is unknown if they persist for more than a season or two. Other cultivars include the snow pea, sugar pea, and snap pea, which have relatively large fruits that are harvested prior to maturity and eaten intact. The young foliage also sometimes is used in Chinese cuisine as a component of stir-fried vegetables.

Peas are self-pollinating annuals. Studies of the inheritance of plant size, flower color, and seed wrinkles of peas by Gregor Mendel (1865) became the basis for the modern science of genetics. Today there are numerous pea cultivars developed for various types of garden cultivation, edible pods, mechanical harvesting, and freezing of the seeds and/or fruits.



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